20in30 Squat Day-The importance of the pause.

Squatting is a basic human movement and everyone should be able to do it. Unfortunately, most of us sit at the computer or on the couch and lose the ability to get into a good stable squat position.

I still don’t have a great squat. Everyday I look at my 15 month old son and his ability to squat all the way down with his butt on his calves and move explosively from that position. It truly is a joy to see such fantastic human movement. So how am I going to get better in that rock bottom squat position? I have been doing mobility, but I’m changing it up a little bit.

Pause Squat

Instead of focusing so much on mobility and stretching, I’m going to just try to accumulate more time in the position of a squat. Whether weighted or not, the human body adapts to being in a position. So I’m going to try and help my body out a little with external loading (weight on my back.) I’m accomplishing this through pause squats. The worst exercise known to mankind and the one that I probably need the most.

Pause squats are very humbling because you can’t lift as much weight but they are extremely effective at making you stronger and even more comfortable in the bottom position of the squat. They can even teach you how to breathe better but that’s a whole other story. Today I paused every first rep of each set of my high bar squats for about 3-5 seconds; instead of doing 3×3 I did some heavy singles, paused. Again, not a ton of volume but I’m really focusing on my bench. I would hate to kill myself on pause squats and then not be able to do the prescribed reps the next day for bench.

Here’s the workout! Day 9 of the program.

Paused High Bar Squat: Worked up to 3 heavy singles (275, 295, and 275) Also did some additional pause work with 225.

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8

Donkey Calf Raise: 4×20 (Hit a top set for 10 that was a rep PR)

Ab Wheel Roll Out: 2×10 then 2×8 (Added an extra set and my abs are fried…)

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20in30 – Day 2 Squat Day

Today was squat day.

Even though the main goal of this program is progressing the bench press, I don’t want to lose strength in the other big lifts (squat and deadlift.) It is usually best to have one main goal; because of that I will only be squatting and deadlifting once a week. Squat I usually squat 2 to 3 times a week and at one point I squatted everyday for 45 days. So the low frequency is odd to me but I don’t want to burn myself out on squats and not be able to hit my bench numbers the next day.

I did 3 sets of 3 on high bar squats and I chose high bar for a couple of different reasons. I’m not nearly as strong with a high bar squat as low bar so this gives me a chance to work on the technique and build strength in this style of squat. Also, because it is a lighter load it’s less systemic stress on my body, which hopefully will allow full recovery for my next bench press day (AKA Wednesday.)





Here’s day 2 of the program.

High Bar Squat: 3×3

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8

Donkey Calf Raise: 4×20 (Raised the weight every set)

Ab Wheel Roll Out: 3×10 (Best ab exercise ever!)


Hit a fairly easy 3×3 at 275 today and it felt good. Looking forward to the speed bench day tomorrow! Getting better everyday.

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Day one of the program here!!!